“Amid the pressure of great events, a general principle gives no help.” G.W.F. Hegel
Some things build. There are those nights that wild themselves, when the walls bend in close to my temples, just like a whiskey cloud, and the velvet curtains wrap around me blocking out the light. The air feels warm, thick and cloying, coated in dust, catching on my throat. In the back of my head I feel the movement of staccato bass riffs pounding, the floor shakes and I need to steady myself.
When the dark words come, as come they will and fill the room and strike at me, the world presses in, time slips a cog, and my veins thrum. If only they were never said, if only I could reel them back. The pain overwhelms as images flash past. Only tears release the pressure valve, returning the walls to normal and the constriction is no more. Finally the gauge reads zero and I can think again.
“There can be no vulnerability without risk ….” M. Scott Peck
Nothing By Half
I like to play with moon, we have such fun together whatever we choose to do. Tonight she called out by half, indeed she cradled me, such was her shape for loving. She had that look, which is to say, that despite appearances, nothing was by half with her. She appeared velvety, like a piece of cacao in a Viennese cafe, waiting to be softly grated into my cup. And I sighed long in anticipation of the pleasure.
It takes a certain vulnerability to drink down this draught of love so rich in texture, it seems to coat the tongue with memory and warm the heart to an opening unanticipated. To feel that warmth, that connection, is beyond any words. All at once, nothing can be said and yet everything can be said. Moon just smiled and I melted in her froth tonight. I am mezza to her half.
“The heart has its reasons which reason knows not.” Blaise Pascal
My Heart Is True
My quartet, sometimes pumping major, sometimes minor chords, of deep, deep feeling, be they ecstatic or other, less so. To be moved is to know joy and pain, even simultaneously. To be lifted is to know the bounds of passions flavours. Moments like these I feel in my temples, my chest, my breath or lack of it for want of air.
My quartet, all four chambers, never suspended, never diminished, though often augmented with all kinds of bargained feelings of love, forgiveness, joy, pain, fear. It all wells and heaves in my body needing time to be discerned before any sense of consolation or desolation can be determined towards a course of action, if at all. I am uncertain as to who conducts who, but I am certain my heart is true.
Photo: Summer in the bay, one of several local bays, Hamelin Bay.
“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” Albert Einstein
The Great Adventure
So, it’s a new year? I guess we need such a boundary, perhaps life would be difficult if it felt open ended, a kind of nihilist enterprise. Perhaps, too, beginnings and endings provide a sense of continuity. But does continuity connote purpose or self understanding? I wonder. At the very least a year is a frame to hang my process of life on and make my way. I prefer to order my years around celebrations and gatherings, for me a year is about community, I need that.
Perhaps it’s about telos? A year offers beginnings but also conclusions that enable the mind to adjust to a time continuum. A proscribed year offers a place to aim for, a safety valve enabling a break, time to stop, an opportunity to change pace, or even direction. I find such rhythms helpful in navigating energy and health.
My days ahead are very full, it will be challenging, in the best possible ways. I will be stretched. I have come far, I now know that new years are just years and they simply my years as I make them, mother nature not-with-standing. I have also learned that I am enough, I am who I am and that is a good thing. For the most part a year is something to be grasped and lived as an adventure. Perhaps this year there’ll be for me an annuation?
What rattles you? As for me, so few things. But one of the true things that rattles me is an unexpected breeze. Now it’s not that breezes are unwelcome, especially on a hot day, a stagnant day or after a bush-fire, they can be so cleansing. And yet. And yet a sudden breeze can rattle my soul, leave me feeling uneasy, even pining for change or some new moment, a moving on, a horizon yet unseen.
Unexpected breezes are the siren of the freeways, the moment of grief intruding on a pleasant day, the uneasy sense of a phone ringing when least anticipated, news of a death near to one’s soul. Just like someone jumping out in the quiet dark, or appearing out of context. The unexpected grief can be the bearer of such wonders, and yet evoke such shock.
What rattles me? As for you, perhaps, so few things, but as for me the unexpected breeze blowing beyond my control, beyond my understanding of the next moment. What is in the breeze? Its freedom, unrestrained, random, beyond who I am. It is time to make friends with the breeze, how else shall I make sense of it?
“There ain’t no point in making soup unless others eat it.” Kate DiCamillo
How does one make soup? Ingredients, of course, and thoughts run to vegetables, meats, spices and herbs, and ways of blending, concocting, adapting them. And not forgetting to add some fresh bread, preferably thick, toasted and buttered. But that is not the whole, that is not the recipe, that is not soup. There’s more to soup than liquid.
Take some invitations and gather a table round. Add a dash of greetings, kisses, hugs and handshakes. Add some humour and wine, fold in strands of conversation and pursue a line of two. One must listen between the lines. rejoice with those doing well, hold those who are struggling, engage the quiets ones. Encourage, communicate, celebrate. Be present. That’s by whole soup.
“A house is a home when it shelters the body and comforts the soul.” Phillip Moffit
I sought the rusted sheets with popped springhead nails that constituted a place of imperfect refuge, where the wind rattled the loosening sheets with devilish thoughts of crisis, and the rain laughed in penetrating bullets of inaccuracy that threatened reality. The corrie strained and shifted with metallic moans that wrenched my gut as the rain drenched my sense of doubt.
In the shed I shed tears of sorrow as the storm passed both within and without, and I longed for the assurance of summer’s dry calm, that quiet air of warm repose offering slow, delicate thoughts of life so different to this winter of my soul. In letting go I found a peace of incomplete and imperfect arrival, with none of the expected sophistication of a revival of soul, just the plain ordinariness of self understanding.
In the shed I shed my skins of old, like a python letting a season’s past regress, and the salt that burned my cheeks retired. And though the memories are retained I no longer own them. This place of shelter from the elements is shelter from my storm.
“One way of celebrating the Solstice is to consider it a sacred time of reflection, release, restoration, and renewal.” Sarah Ban Breathnach
For the first time in a long time, a very long time it seems, I have simply stopped completely for a few days. I no longer miss my race around the sun to make meaning for someone else’s fortune, I long to make meaning for my own. there is something precious about distilling the day, spending time in recollection at evening and savouring the good moments, panning for the gold of the day.
There is a wonderful feeling that comes with stopping, slowing, taking time, knowing that the horizon is there, but also knowing it can wait. The wisdom of age is knowing when to stop, slow and take time, and when, even how, to move again and in which direction and when to be excited by a new horizon. For as surely as the earth turns, new horizons are aplenty. Right now I am still and awaiting my next step.